msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 3/16/2007 11:58:01 AM ET 2007-03-16T15:58:01

The U.S. will approve Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s request for a visa so he can visit the U.N. as the Security Council moves to impose additional sanctions against his country for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday that the United States has approved a U.S. visa for Ahmadinejad previously and will do so again, consistent with its obligations as host country for the United Nations.

Ahmadinejad has been a vociferous defender of his nation’s nuclear efforts and a critic of the U.S.

On Thursday, the five permanent members of the Security Council — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France— along with Germany compromised on a sanctions package to step up pressure on the Islamic republic to suspend uranium enrichment. The full council will consider the measures in coming days.

Ahmadinejad said Friday that no amount of U.N. pressure would deter Iran from its nuclear program.

“We have a nuclear fuel cycle. We will not give it up under pressure. By holding meetings you (the West) cannot block the Iranian nation’s path,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a rally in the central town of Khatam, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Ahmadinejad, despite saying on Thursday the council “had no legitimacy among nations,” has asked to address it to defend Iran’s right to nuclear technology when the issue comes to a vote.

The council will discuss the resolution on Wednesday, with a vote expected sometime later next week.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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